I remember when I was living on my own for the first time. I was so excited to use my kitchen, then I got to the part of the recipe where it called for julienned carrots, and I thought…”Julienned? What the heck is that?” I realized quickly there was A LOT to cooking.
With so many cooking terms out there just to tell us how large or small something should be cut, it can get a little confusing. However, it is important to use the same size chop a recipe calls for so that the food will cook evenly. Even a simple salad recipe will look more enticing when the ingredients are in the same-size pieces.
Keep chopping/cubing/dicing/mincing easy by remembering this:
CHOP – uneven and asymmetrical, a chop is bite-sized, about a ½ inch in diameter. This is many times used for meats and ingredients that will be cooked down such as soups or sauces, or for those asymmetrical veggies like broccoli or greens.
CUBE – a more even and symmetrical version of chopping, a cube should be ½ inch in diameter. This can be used for vegetables that will be cooked on their own, such as roasted vegetables.
DICE – even, small squares, about ¼ inch in diameter. This tends to be used for uncooked foods such as salads.
MINCE – very small and thus less precise, ⅛ inch diameter or less. Mincing is used when chopping garlic and herbs.
This should be enough to get you started when trying new recipes and learning how to cook. We will continue to expand your cooking glossary in the future.